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Diversity Committee

Read about out Background & Mission

Why DEI is important for the Genomics Institute

  • The people that make up the GI are our greatest asset. We must do better to ensure that underrepresented members of our community, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, or otherwise people of color (BIPOC), feel respected and valued.
  • DEI improves innovation and creates impactful research.
  • Genomics research has a history of systemic racism and bias. As leaders of the field, we have a responsibility to dismantle this legacy.

Read about out Charter

Composition: The committee will be led by a faculty member that is affiliated with the Genomics Institute. This leadership role is supported by a stable executive committee which is made up of the current Genomic Institute’s Executive Director, Director of Diversity, and Assistant Director of Communications. The remainder of the committee will be made up of a rotating group of up to two administrative staff, two technical staff, two postdocs, two graduate students, and two undergraduates.  Members self-nominate through an open call to the Genomics Institute community and are selected by current members of the committee. You can see our current and former members below. 

Appointment duration: We ask that committee members who are permanent staff and faculty try to serve a two year term and trainees (undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers) try to serve for one year. Renewals are welcome. 

Compensation: For positions that do not include service work as a regular part of their job duties (postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates), we offer a stipend per quarter of $250 that reflects one hour of service per week.  


The purpose of this committee is to do the following:

  • Propose policy, procedure, and funding changes the Institute can make to eliminate the structural and systemic biases that affect our community and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion of all members of our community. (For example: demographics, community talks, inclusive hiring)
  • Create and maintain mechanisms of reporting bias and seeking conflict resolution.
  • Encourage and compensate active efforts that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. (For example: DEI performance evaluation goal-setting campaign, DEI action award)
  • Secure funding for and organize events and programs that amplify diverse voices and expand training opportunities for historically underserved members of our community. (For example: bioinformatics bootcamp, seminars)
  • Serve as a central point of coordination when the institute is responding to issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as when it is advocating for or working with other campus units to eliminate systemic biases. 
  • Communicate our actionable goals and progress to the Genomics Institute community on a regular basis.
Read about our Progress

In our last three years, we have:

  • Met with GI leadership to set out DEI priorities for the Genomics Institute and secured funding to work towards these priorities.
  • Organized a four-week long bioinformatics programming course in 2021 (the UCSC Bioinformatics & Coding Short Course or “BCSC”) to meet the needs of students without prior programming experience, who have been underserved by existing GI programs. Half of all enrolled students were community college students. We secured funding to create four $1K need-based scholarships to provide financial support for students participating in the course. This course was repeated in 2022 and 2023.
  • Developed a best practice policy for managers to request actionable goals that promote DEI in their staffs’ annual reviews and achieved a 61% staff participation rate.
  • Initiated an annual DEI Action Award for the GI community beginning in 2021. To date, we have awarded five members of our community that have shown exceptional contributions to prompting DEI efforts. 
  • Planned and executed a half-day symposium on advancing anti-racist genomics research, which was very well received. We are in the process of enacting a second symposium for 2024. 
  • Started a Secret Mentor Society to support graduate students and postdocs who mentor students and provided financial support to the Student Support Network that mentors first-year STEM graduate students. 

Feedback Form

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Angela Brooks, Faculty, Former Director

Alexis Morgan, Staff

Jen Quick-Cleveland, Postdoc

Carlos Arevalo, Undergraduate Student

Serafina Nieves, Undergraduate Student

Alexis Thornton, Graduate Student

Susan Carpenter, Faculty

Rosa Sanchez, Undergraduate Student

Isabel Bjork, Former Executive Director

Beth Sheets, Staff

Niki Thomas, Graduate Student

Kiana Imani, Undergraduate Student

Roman Reggiardo, Graduate Student

Sarah Xia, Undergraduate Student

Adam Novak, Senior Software Engineer

Katrina Learned, Executive Advisor 

Last modified: Jun 12, 2024